Meaning of MATERIAL in English


I. məˈtirēəl, -tēr- adjective

Etymology: Middle English materiel, material, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French materiel, from Late Latin materialis, from Latin materia matter + -alis -al — more at matter



(1) : of, relating to, or consisting of matter : physical

the material universe

the material nature of fire

(2) : corporeal , bodily

material needs

(3) : of, relating to, or derived from matter as the constituent of the physical universe

material forces


(1) : of or relating to the matter of a thing and not to its form

the material aspect of being

(2) : of or relating to the matter of reasoning and not to its form

the material truth embodied in a premise

c. : existing only in outward manifestation and not prompted by or joined with actual intention

material heresy

material sin



(1) : being of real importance or great consequence : substantial

found a material difference between the two things

a material point of order

made a material correction

a material objection

(2) : essential

information that is material to continued research

(3) : relevant , pertinent

neglected no data that was material

b. : requiring serious consideration by reason of having a certain or probable bearing on the proper determination of a law case or on the effect of an instrument or on some similar unsettled matter

a material fact

a material piece of evidence


a. : being of a coarse unspiritual nature : not lofty

a grossly material form of love

b. : relating to or concerned especially excessively with what is purely physical rather than intellectual or spiritual

interested only in material progress

is material in all his interests

4. obsolete

a. : pregnant with substance and meaning : solid , meaty

b. : bulky , massive

5. : of or relating to production and distribution of goods and the social relationship of owners and laborers rather than to financial and political institutions — compare economic interpretation of history


physical , corporeal , phenomenal , sensible , objective : material describes whatever is formed of tangible matter and may be used in opposition to spiritual, ideal, intangible; it may have suggestions of the mundane, crass, or grasping

one's material possessions

busy with material affairs

no veneration for property, no sense of material values — Willa Cather

realistic and material rather than romatic and Utopian — V.L.Parrington

physical applies especially to things perceived by the senses, things susceptible of treatment in one way or another by the science of physics; it is opposed to imaginary, psychical, mental, or spiritual

everything physical is measurable by weight, motion, and resistance — Thomas De Quincey

athletic grounds and equipment represent a very substantial portion of Harvard's physical plant — Official Register of Harvard University

coporeal applies to whatever is not only tangible and material but also has some sort of body

we cannot compare our ideas with these corporeal substances — Frank Thilly

“the mind” may be regarded as a living, growing “structure,” even though it lacks corporeal tangibility — Science

phenomenal refers to what is or may be known or perceived through the senses rather than through thought, hypothesis, intuition, or reason alone

her introspective bent has yielded more and more, in her recent writing, to a determination to capture the phenomenal world — B.R.Redman

sensible may more strongly stress the idea of application to what is knowable through the senses and is opposed to intelligible, conceptual, or notional

subject to this right of every riparian owner to use the water without stint, every owner is entitled to have the water come on to him without sensible diminution as regards quantity and sensible alteration as regards quality — F.D.Smith & Barbara Wilcox

objective may stress apartness and individual essence, as reported by the senses, of something corporeal or sensible

a chronic malady which, in forty years, produced no objective sign of disease — Douglas Hubble

Synonym: see in addition relevant .

II. noun

( -s )



(1) : the basic matter (as metal, wood, plastic, fiber) from which the whole or the greater part of something physical (as a machine, tool, building, fabric) is made

had a good supply of all necessary materials

flax is the material used in making linen

(2) : the finished stuff of which something physical (as an article of clothing) is made ; especially : cloth


(1) : the whole or a notable part of the elements or constituents or substance of something physical

the solid materials of the mixture will settle to the bottom of the container

or not physical

the material of his character was basically good

(2) : something (as data, observations, perceptions, ideas) that may through intellectual operation be synthesized or further elaborated or otherwise reworked into a more finished form or a new form or that may serve as the basis for arriving at fresh interpretations or judgments or conclusions

found rich material for a definitive biography

an experience that provided stimulating material for new evaluation of the theory

(3) : something (as a group of specimens) used for or made the object of study and investigation

museum material

c. : matter viewed as the relatively formless basis of reality


a. : apparatus (as tools or other articles) necessary for doing or making something — usually used in plural

needed writing materials

library materials

b. : matériel

3. : the pieces other than the king that a chess player has available for attacking the pieces of his opponent at one or the other point of a game

III. noun

1. : the repertoire of a performer (as a comedian or musician)

2. : a person potentially suited to some pursuit or role

college material

husband material

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.